Poker Chips and Playing Cards on White Background

Understanding how to win in No Limit Hold’em Poker gives you insights into how to win in life.

Nick Binger, the instructor at the World Poker Tour Cash Camp I took, said “Make the right decisions and you can expect to win about 60% of the time.” He laughed and then asked, “So how often does it feel like you’re losing if you’re winning 60% of the time?

Losing 40% of the time will feel like losing 90% of the time.

Yet, winning 60% of the time means you’re making progress.

The thought of failing 40% of the time is scarier than winning 60% of the time.

We’re taught to play it safe.

This kind of programming makes setting great goals more difficult. We want to protect ourselves from loss more than we want to push to win in life.

Poker teaches you that the only way you can get the big payday is to be okay with the losses. You’ll never win in Poker if your chips aren’t in the middle. The goal is to minimize your losses and maximize your wins.

With poker there is a visible cost to doing nothing. In life, when you delay important decisions, you pay, but it’s not always easy to see the cost.

Poker shows you how expensive it is to do nothing. Every 15 minutes or so, when you’re playing a cash game, you will have to put in the blinds (essentially a forced bet). If you play the lowest stakes (called a 1-2 game), every hour you sit at the table and do nothing costs you $9-$12.

Because their chip stack is dwindling, most players take action even when conditions aren’t perfect, trying to create opportunities. They won’t sit on the sidelines doing nothing because it’s expensive.

If only we all had this real cost right in front of us every day, we might not be so reserved in what we do with our lives.

Not every moment is a good one to make a bet, but you must decide when the time is right and then just go for it. Make a big bet on yourself; your situation will never be perfect, so jump in.

Going All In

The day I sat down with my boss and gave my notice was the day I went ‘all in’ for myself.

The market conditions and my own financial situation were far from ideal for me to leave. It was 2008. The market was horrible for what I wanted to do – build two businesses in real estate. But, there were three things that made me leave without hesitation.

First, I couldn’t stay where I was any longer. I realized the only way to create the life I wanted was to leave and figure it out from there.

Second, I had the full support of my husband to leave, even though we were living on my salary at the time. The fact that he never doubted me when I told him I was going to quit gave me so much belief in myself.

Third, we owned a dozen investment properties at the time. The massive downturn in real estate prices was just starting to hit Canada, but knowing we had some equity to fall back on gave us some comfort. We could sell a property or two (and we did) to survive while we built up our income.

It was not easy. My first book, More than Cashflow, covers all the challenges we faced as we became full time real estate investors. We turned our home, complete with all our kitchen stuff, furniture and appliances, into a furnished rental and moved back in with my parents for two years. Strangers slept in our bed and ruined our couch. The gift I gave myself was one that nobody can ever take away – an unwavering belief that I can do what I set my mind to do.

At some point you have to make a leap. You will have to either go all in, or lose time and money as you watch the opportunities pass you by.

This is an excerpt from The New Brand You.